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<p>Ben&nbsp;Affleck on the set of &quot;Argo&quot;</p>

Ben Affleck on the set of "Argo"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Off the Carpet: Something everyone can agree on

As polling draws to a close, one film seems to have blanket approval

When asked this season what film I think will win Best Picture, I've said "Les Misérables" since about September. Obviously for a stretch that was sight-unseen. Then the film, and others, came along. And I stuck with it. Largely I had to defend the call against those who couldn't see a film that is perceived as "divisive" (and boy are the detractors LOUD) winning the top prize, and they had a fair enough point.

The only thing is, I see passion for the film and the nay-sayers are a bit marginalized. Critics and industry people view this film differently. And those who love the film LOVE it. You can't ignore that kind of embrace. Few films this year really have it. And it's particularly important in a season that seems more up-for-grabs than any in recent history.

But as more and more members have finally caught up with the majority of the season's offerings in the past few weeks, I've made sure I paid attention to one thing in particular in my conversations: consensus. Consensus and general agreement wins you Oscars. But many films have inherent marks against them. There are really only two films, though, that tend to be enjoyed, adored, respected and liked all the way across the board, and one of them has taken shape as the potential taker of the cake. That film is "Argo."

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<p>Luke Kirby and Michelle Williams in &quot;Take This Waltz.&quot;</p>

Luke Kirby and Michelle Williams in "Take This Waltz."

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Lovers and masters: Guy's top 10 films of 2012

Counting down the year's best, from the multiplex to the festival fringes

And so it is that I've left it until the last day of the year to add my Top 10 list to the already teetering; I don't think I've ever left it so late before, and it certainly wasn't calculated on my part, though there's something pleasingly tidy about using New Year's Eve as an occasion to post a list that, in some ways, looks forward as much as it looks back. (Speaking of looking forward: in a break from tradition, the list is accompanied by a video countdown this year, so if you want my curious accent guiding you through, just press play.) 

This is the space where I'm supposed to say it's been a good/bad/indifferent year for film, though I'm increasingly uncertain of how to answer that question. That's partly because of the way I compile my list: given that I occupy the no-man's-land territory of a European critic on an American site, release calendars are hard to keep up with and even harder to stick to, so I opt instead to include any new film I saw in 2012, whether as a theatrical release, on the festival circuit or somewhere in between.

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Credit: AP Photo

U2 reveals working title for 13th studio set

Is it a joke or for real?

The working title for U2’s new album is “10 Reasons to Exist.” 

Lead singer Bono revealed the moniker, perhaps jokingly,  in a radio interview after Christmas, according to The Independent newspaper.

There’s no release date yet for the group’s 13th studio album, which the band worked on throughout 2012.  Bono added, “Within the band, we’ve been calling it ‘10 Reasons to Exist,’ —but I will tell you we might have at least six of them.” Call us crazy, but we're betting that this will not be the final title, but it's a fascinating idea for a concept album.

U2’s last studio album was 2009’s “No Line On The Horizon.” 


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<p>&quot;Once more into the fray, into the last good fight I'll ever know. Live and die on this day. Live and die on this day.&quot;</p>

"Once more into the fray, into the last good fight I'll ever know. Live and die on this day. Live and die on this day."

Credit: Open Road Films

2012: the year in superlatives

Awarding the best in Oscar's categories and ours

As 2012 prepares to fade and the ball primes itself for another drop a few blocks away, it's time to look back once more on the year that was. Well, not "once more." The season is still pushing ahead and we won't be finished with it until February 24, but as far as I'm concerned, this annual post is my bow on what the year had to offer.

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<p>Green Day</p>

Green Day

Credit: Bruce Gilbert/AP

Green Day to hit the road again in March 2013

Band returns after six months off for Billie Joe Armstrong's recovery

After canceling some dates outright and postponing others while lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong attended rehab, Green Day will hit the road again on March 28, starting at Chicago’s Allstate Arena.

The trio, who released three albums between September and December of 2012, called off all promotional shows and a planned tour after Armstrong went into an explosive rant  at the IHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas in late September. When originally announced in October, the group canceled all remaining dates for 2012 and postponed shows for January- February.  Those early 2013 shows are now canceled.

Armstrong thanks his fans and friends for their support over the last several months. "Dear friends... I just want to thank you all for the love and support you've shown for the past few months. Believe me, it hasn't gone unnoticed and I'm eternally grateful to have such an amazing set of friends and family. I'm getting better everyday. So now, without further ado, the show must go on. We can't wait to get on the road and live out [loud]! Our passion has only grown stronger."

Collectively, the band also issued its thanks: "Dear friends... I just want to thank you all for the love and support you've shown for the past few months. Believe me, it hasn't gone unnoticed and I'm eternally grateful to have such an amazing set of friends and family. I'm getting better everyday. So now, without further ado, the show must go on. We can't wait to get on the road and live out load! Our passion has only grown stronger."

West coast dates will be announced in early 2013. Refunds for the now-canceled January and February shows are now available.


28th - Chicago, IL - Allstate Arena
29th - Moline, IL - I Wireless Center
31st - Pittsburgh, PA - Consol Energy Center   
1st - Rochester, NY - Blue Cross Arena
3rd - Philadelphia, PA - Liacourias Center
4th - Fairfax, VA - Patriot Center
6th - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena
7th - Brooklyn, NY - Barclays Center
9th - Providence, RI - Dunkin Donuts Center
11th - Toronto, ON - Air Canada Centre
12th - Quebec City, QC - Quebec Colisee
7th - Green Bay, WI - Resch Center
10th - Wilkes-Barre, PA - Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
11th - State College, PA - Bryce Jordan Center - Penn State Univ.
18th - Manchester, NH - Verizon Wireless Arena
25th - Portland, ME - Cumberland Co. Civic Center
30th - Cleveland, OH - Wolstein Ctr. / Cleveland St. Univ.
2nd - Madison, WI - Alliant Energy Center Mem. Coliseum
4th - Omaha, NE - CenturyLink Arena                                     
6th - Broomfield, CO - 1STBANK Center 
8th - Las Vegas, NV  - MGM Grand Garden Arena              


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<p>Jenna-Louise Coleman and Matt Smith in the &quot;Doctor Who&quot;&nbsp;Christmas special.</p>

Jenna-Louise Coleman and Matt Smith in the "Doctor Who" Christmas special.

Credit: BBC

Review: 'Doctor Who' - 'The Snowmen'

Jenna-Louise Coleman debuts (again) as the new companion (sort of)

A quick review of last week's "Doctor Who" Christmas special coming up just as soon as I am a lizard woman from the dawn of time, and this is my wife...

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<p>Will Alan's jokes about Katharine McPhee starring in &quot;Smash:&nbsp;The Smash Williams Story&quot;&nbsp;live on until 2013?&nbsp;Stay tuned.</p>

Will Alan's jokes about Katharine McPhee starring in "Smash: The Smash Williams Story" live on until 2013? Stay tuned.

Looking back and looking forward

Biggest stories of the year, most anticipated 2013 premieres, and more

Happy almost New Year, everybody! As you know, I took last week off to hang with my family (and eat a disturbing amount of milk chocolate in the wilds of Hershey, PA), but now I'm back to prep for the start of the Television Critics Association winter press tour, which kicks off on Thursday night.

I'll have a quick post on the "Doctor Who" Christmas special up shortly, but first I wanted to link to various TV-related things — some co-written by me, some not — that ran on HitFix in my absence, for anyone who was also away last week but has some time today before 2012 goes away:

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<p>&quot;Zero Dark Thirty&quot;</p>

"Zero Dark Thirty"

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Roundup: Why both sides are right (or wrong) in the 'Zero Dark Thirty' debate

Also: NYT Oscar ballots, and how many votes do you need for a nomination?

I know, I know, more column inches on the "Zero Dark Thirty" torture debate. But I'm leading with Andrew O'Hehir's piece because it's the most thoughtful, level-headed response I've read on the matter so far. He's a fan of the film -- most flatteringly, he compares it to the "complex historical fiction" of Dickens or Tolstoy --, but doesn't see that as any reason to assume it takes the morally "right" position. "Both interpretations can be simultaneously correct," he writes, "partly because it’s an unusually complicated work, partly because there are so many things we don’t know about the Bush administration’s notorious “detainee program,” and partly because art is an inherently amoral and ruthless enterprise, however much we may want to believe otherwise." Great stuff. [Salon

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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' recap: 'Press Down and Strip Bare'

Things get skeevy when Phaedra, Apollo, Cynthia and Peter head to a strip club

Last week, we saw Kenya and Walter end their tortured (and possibly fictitious) relationship in dramatic fashion, a tragic (or, depending on your perspective, richly deserved) car wreck to wrap up the gals' trip to Anguilla. Or maybe we just thought we saw that, because apparently, it ain't over 'til it's over, and the fat lady has yet to sing. Oh, she's gotten naked and flapped her flabby nether regions at a strip bar with many of her toothless friends, but we'll get to that later. Anyway, no singing. 

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Awards Campaign's Best of 2012: TV, Music and Movies

Awards Campaign's Best of 2012: TV, Music and Movies

Key & Peele,' 'Game of Thrones,' Florence + The Machine, Channing Tatum and more'

Last December I took inspiration from Mr. Tapley and listed some of the notable achievements in music and television for 2011.  And, of course, some year-end movie "awards." Let's try this one more time for 2012, shall we?

You can review my top 10 films of 2012 here.  And, for year-end picks from the rest of HitFix's editorial team, click on the related tabs within this post.

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<p>Amanda Seyfriend talks about her role as Cosette in Tom Hooper's &quot;Les Miserables.&quot;</p>

Amanda Seyfriend talks about her role as Cosette in Tom Hooper's "Les Miserables."

Amanda Seyfried knew 'Les Miserables' fans would be tough after 'Mamma Mia'

Is a Broadway musical in her future?

NEW YORK - No matter what your opinion of Tom Hooper's "Les Miserables" there is one thing everyone can agree on: it's great to hear Amanda Seyfried singing again.

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<p>Bart Layton, director &quot;The Imposter.&quot;</p>

Bart Layton, director "The Imposter."

Credit: AP Photo/Victoria Will

Bart Layton on reflecting the subjective nature of truth in 'The Imposter'

The British film is one of 15 shortlisted by the Academy for Best Documentary

Even the most banal phrases have their uses, and when it came to Bart Layton's documentary “The Imposter” earlier this year, it's easy to understand why so many critics reached for that fusty standby: “The truth is stranger than fiction.” Then again, “The Imposter” – one of 15 shortlisted films vying for an Oscar nod in the Best Documentary Feature category – tells a story that is stranger even than most truths.

Centered on the charismatic, frightening figure of Frédéric Bourdin a shapeshifting con artist and serial identity thief who claim to have masqueraded as over 500 people in his lifetime, the film peels back the covers on the Frenchman's most infamous and improbable stunt. In 1997, aged 23, he seemingly duped a Texan family into accepting him as their teenaged son who had gone missing three years previously – despite not sharing his accent, appearance or even eye color. Turning up in Spain and claiming to have been kidnapped by a military-run child prostitution ring, Bourdin sold his outlandish tale not only to the Barclay family but to the US authorities, and maintained the charade for five months before the FBI caught wise.

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